Among the Living by Jordan Castillo Price

 JCP was offering a free download of one her books and I wandered over since I’ve wanted to read some of her series anyway. For such a pretty site, it’s almost impossible to understand her backlist, which was disappointing. I don’t know why authors don’t make it crystal clear the order of their series but I assume the majority of people visiting already know the books. I don’t and am always frustrated trying to figure out where to start and how the series link together, especially with the short stories and freebies. But this isn’t a review of a website. So that aside, I eventually downloaded “Among the Living” from her main author site, which is much better than the actual Psycop site – avoid that newbies like me. I think this is the first book of the Psycop series. I’ve no clue how it links to the other series she writes so here we go.

*Edit to add : JCP has graciously clarified her series order over on her site. So easy even I can figure it out now. Thank you muchly!

Among the Living by Jordan Castillo Price

Blurb:

Victor Bayne, the psychic half a PsyCop team, is a gay medium who’s more concerned with flying under the radar than in making waves.

He hooks up with handsome Jacob Marks, a non-psychic (or “Stiff”) from an adjacent precinct at his ex-partner’s retirement party and it seems like his dubious luck has taken a turn for the better. But then a serial killer surfaces who can change his appearance to match any witness’ idea of the world’s hottest guy.

Solving murders is a snap when you can ask the victims whodunit, but this killer’s not leaving any spirits behind.

 


Review:

This was a great beginning to what sounds like a fabulous, enthralling series. From the fast paced action and humorous dialogue to some seriously sexy characters, the plot was interesting and engaging from the beginning and held true until the end. The psychic elements were very well done and never too outrageous even as magical powers were heavily woven through the plot and characters. An amazingly quick read but thoroughly entertaining and sets the stage for an addictive series if the level of creativity and interest is able to be maintained. Combined with impressively solid and tight prose, I can see why Price is a popular author and has so many books to her credit. If I can figure out her backlist, I’ll likely continue with these and other series.

The plot starts off witty and fun, told in first person point of view from Vic, the psychic cop hero of the story. He’s funny and sarcastic with an instant charm as he drugs himself almost out of his mind just to handle the retirement party of his partner. However, he’s not too drugged to pass on a quickie in the bathroom with hunky Jacob Marks. Sadly their tryst is interrupted but it sets up a burgeoning relationship with the tenacious Marks. Vic is by turns surly, moody, and insightful as he deals with not only the fallout from his talent but the unique relationships and circumstances this causes. From his point of view, other people and settings are often skewed to how he perceives them.

Jacob is defined as hunky, confident, and aggressive. He knows what he wants and easily goes after it without letting much get in his way. He’s seen as fascinated by men and women with psychic power but again, that is seen through the jaded eye of Vic so how much is paranoia versus truth remains to be seen. He clearly cares for Vic and is attracted to him, whether that turns into more is questionable. Vic definitely would be a high maintenance lover. So far Jacob doesn’t seem to mind, the sex is hot – even if Vic has a tendency to talk to himself – and the fitting happy for now ending was appropriate and satisfying.

Similarly the action/horror plot was well crafted and executed throughout. Tight prose and vivid descriptions created crime scenes that were easy to imagine and incredibly clear in their depiction with the actual villain creepy yet fascinating. Mixed in with the equal parts horror and mystery plot were numerous witty and funny comments that kept the story moving and lightened the intensity of the book. One of my favorite lines came from the first crime scene as they examined the body of a dead gay male:

The tech said that judging by the open container of lube nearby she’d just spotted, the victim had likely been penetrated, though the Coroner would have to verify that. A psycho murderer who lubed. How considerate.

Although the story could have easily stretched out with the tension and suspense, its shorter length was perfect as an introduction to the characters and the setting. The urban fantasy setting lent itself well to the edgy mystery even with the problems inherent in both the writing and style. Due to the first person point of view, actual characterization was a definite weak point. None of the characters, including Vic, Marks, and the female partners, were ever fully realized and only given cursory introductions and a hint of personality. The implication is that as an introduction to a series, these characters will become more involved and have added depth with each successive book. While I’m not sure I always like this tactic, the solid writing and intriguing premise is enough to keep me going. Thankfully the author did not leave multiple threads hanging, even if there were hints for future storylines. I look forward to future books in this series.

 Get it HERE!

 


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2 responses to “Among the Living by Jordan Castillo Price

  • jaye_valentine

    I don’t know why authors don’t make it crystal clear the order of their series but I assume the majority of people visiting already know the books.
    Precisely why we decided to number the books in all our series right there in the title from the start. Makes the title longer since there is a series title plus the subtitle for that book, but at least then there is no ambiguity.
    I bought a title from a rather prolific pair of authors some time ago, only to find it was smack dab in the middle of a long-running series. There was no indication of this in either the book title or the blurb, which kinda ticked me off. As a reader, I don’t feel it’s my responsibility to first research every book I buy to find out if this is the case.

    • Kassa

      I don’t mind numbers in titles. Even lengthy titles that add the series name. OR why not put on the first line of your blurb:
      This is book #18 in the Never Ending Lizard Porn Series.
      For print novels usually I go to a website or the inner flap where the previous series are listed so you just skim to make sure you’re up to date. Online it’s like a maze of trying to figure out short stories, anthologies, series, spin off series. For a literal reader like me, it’s one quick way to turn me off from bothering. :/

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